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Eco-friendly operations from Ulstein

The Olympic Zeus and sister vessel Olympic Hera of the A122 design from Ulstein are two of the largest anchor handling tug supply (AHTS)/offshore construction vessels ever delivered from Ulstein Verft.

The Olympic Zeus and sister vessel Olympic Hera of the A122 design from Ulstein are two of the largest anchor handling tug supply (AHTS)/offshore construction vessels ever delivered from Ulstein Verft.

However, they also use a great deal less fuel than any AHTS/offshore
construction vessels to come before them. This is seemingly a
contradiction – but it’s also the reality thanks to the Green Operations
initiative. Shipowner – and Green Operations partners – Olympic
Shipping is highly satisfied with the results.

When Olympic Shipping started planning the building of the two vessels, not
only were they looking for state-of-the-art ships capable of performing
demanding marine operations at great water depths, but also those that
follow a strict environmentally friendly line.

“Olympic Shipping has a zero-tolerance emission target, and this played
into our choice of a hybrid (diesel-mechanical/diesel-electric) propulsion
solution on our next-generation AHTS/offshore con-struction vessels. While
the technology was in place, it still wasn’t in commercial use on these
types of vessels as of yet. We then invited three ship design companies and
shipyards to try and help us turn this challenge into a reality. We felt
that Ulstein Verft and Ulstein Design & Solutions had the best proposition,
and their combination of quality, standing, reputation, solidity and
knowledge sealed the deal,” says Olympic Shipping senior vice president
Runar Stave.

This combination of functionality and green pioneer status isn’t something
that one would normally associate with these types of vessels. “Anchor
handlers are thought of as being ‘thirsty’ due to their large power
availability, their needs to cope with high forces produced by wind, water
current and water depths, and their corresponding equipment to keep oil
drilling platforms in place onsite,” Stave says. But Olympic’s
environmental vision means that the company will, task by task, overcome
green challenges by working smarter across the industry. The new hybrid
vessels – a first for both Olympic and Ulstein – are a giant step in the
right direction.

More than just green
After the Olympic Zeus and Olympic Hera were finished in 2009, they’ve both
been fully utilised in the North Sea spot market by Statoil, BP Norway and
AGR, among others. And the feedback from clients so far has been nothing
short of amazing – in that, clients are literally amazed that the vessels
can do what they do.

“On one of the first jobs we carried out, our customer wondered if Olympic
was actually subsidising fuel as they didn’t think that it was possible to
work with such low fuel consumption,” says Olympic Zeus captain Even Remøy.
“In order to prove our capabilities I asked permission to move an entire
anchor system that was used on a rig. This action normally requires two to
three vessels to complete. The system consisted of eight anchors in total
with about 10,000 metres of chain and wire, and we carried it out. As far
as I know, this has never been done before.”

Remøy, who began as captain on the Olympic Zeus before she was finished and took her on her maiden voyage in April 2009, says that, in addition to her
environmental qualities, the vessel stands out for her stability,
sturdiness and crew friendliness. “My crew and I feel that the Olympic Zeus
is an incredibly good place to work. Not only does she have little
vibration and noise, but also all of the facilities that a multi-national
crew could crave,” he says, adding that the total tank, drum and crane
capacities are unlike any other vessel that he’s captained before.

Both the Olympic Hera and Olympic Zeus have low NOx emissions and meet
DNV’s Clean Design criteria, and, given that they only require low or
medium power the majority of the time they are in operation, the engines
can run with optimum fuel efficiency. These fuel savings are not only high
– they’re quantifiable.

“After a number of jobs, we’ve proven to the market that we in average can
run the ship on 70% of the fuel of what a conventional diesel anchor
handler can, and that we can save up to 70% in some modes compared to a
conventional ship,” says Stave. “A true hybrid provides a world of
possibilities. Many of our competitors simply cannot carry out anchor
handling in diesel-electric mode, even though their systems are ‘hybrid’.
They only have the capacity to boost the diesel-mechanical system with the
diesel-electric mode, so they don’t achieve the same fuel consumption and
emission savings as we do.”

Green Operations
The Green Operations joint venture between Olympic Shipping and Ulstein
Group is not the first time the two companies have worked together. Not
only was Olympic Shipping Ulstein Design & Solutions’ first-ever client,
but there has also been good cooperation over the past few years – not to
mention good results – with the Olympic Pegasus and Olympic Hercules anchor handling vessels of the A101 design from Ulstein.

“Olympic has constantly pushed Ulstein in developing advanced vessels while
maintaining a keen eye on the environment,” says deputy CEO Tore Ulstein of Ulstein Group.

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